6 House Boats to Rent in RI

These rentals offer on-water experiences for wannabe boaters.

After many summer weekends aboard my aunt and uncle’s trawler, I consider myself a fair-weather boat person. I probably wouldn’t buy a boat, but I appreciate the adventure of an overnight or two. For wannabe boaters like myself, I’ve come up with a general rule of thumb: You must be the type of person who prioritizes experience over comfort.

You’re in it for the immediate saltwater access; the unparalleled ocean views; the family-friendliness; the star-gazing; the camaraderie with other boaters; the bragging rights. You have to be, because with those great things comes infrequent bathing (look at me, I’m showering over a toilet!); irregular land access, unless your rental is docked (lucky!); general dampness; and legendary cabin fever on rainy days. Plus, things fall overboard if you’re not careful: your cell phone, your wallet, your husband. (Pro tip: My mom puts everything in little Ziploc baggies inside of a water-resistant handbag.)

If you can handle the good with the not-so-good, there are handfuls of boat rental options on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Some listings are better than others — hello: we can smell your damp couch cushions, which haven’t been laundered since the early ’80s, through our computer screen — but there are some real gems up for rent in Rhode Island. My favorites, odd as it may seem, are docked in Providence by the Hot Club and other waterfront bars and restaurants. These are true house boats and have all the conveniences of tiny houses.

The Newport boats certainly up the fancy factor, but two of three are moored in Newport Harbor and require water taxis to and from the shore. The rental in Portsmouth is the only true sailboat of the bunch, but it’s docked so it’s more convenient. Bonus: It’s the cheapest, too.

Here are six great boat rentals for a summer adventure you’ll never forget:


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